By REDintern Lim Yu-Han

a div boys 800m final

Justin John Surin (#132, white) of RI starts his kick with about 300m to go but Benjamin Tang (#264) of HCI stays with him and eventually overhauls him to finish first in 2:00.51. Justin was second in 2:01.72. Chua Bo Yu (#267, partially hidden) of HCI was third in 2:02.50 while Heng Yu Jie (#129) of RI was fourth in 2:03.78. (Photo © Les Tan/Red Sports)


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Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Wednesday, April 10, 2013 — Hwa Chong Institution’s Benjamin Tang tasted sweet victory after winning the A Division 800 metres gold at the 54th National Schools Track and Field Championships. He finished with a timing of 2 minutes 0.51 seconds, upsetting favourite Justin John Surin of Raffles Institution who came in second with 2:01.72.

This year’s 800m was more a tactical race than an all-out run, with a starting pace slower than normal. The first lap was completed in more than 60 seconds, compared to the usual 57- to 58-second pace. “Everyone was playing it safe,” observed Benjamin Tang of HCI.

The final lap saw Everest Yeow of RI, another favourite for the title, leading the pack for the next 150m. Teammate Justin John Surin soon overtook him. Justin commented: “I decided to take a big risk by starting my kick with 300m to go hoping to drop everyone.”

Seeing Justin speed up, Benjamin followed suit and chased closely behind. “Everything was going according to plan, I didn’t want to risk it and continued following instead of leading,” Benjamin said.

The crowd was roaring as the two were neck-and-neck with 50m left, but a final fast burst saw Benjamin eventually overtaking Justin to get his gold. Everest, who was in close fight for third position with Chua Bo Yu of HCI, stumbled with less than two metres to go, and ended up finishing seventh.

A delighted Benjamin said: “This is my first gold since I started competing in Secondary 4. In the past, I made many mistakes during the 800m race and illness got me for last year’s season.”

Justin rued his mistakes at the start.

“It was a huge disappointment to lose the race. I made the mistake of starting a little too slow and was boxed in for the first lap,” explained Justin. However, he added graciously: “Well done to Ben for staying close. He must have really wanted it.”

Both Benjamin and Justin will compete in the 1,500m final on the final day.

The A Division 800m record is 1:57.10 and was set by Zachary Devaraj, then of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), in 2011. S. Pandian holds the hand-timed record of 1:54.50 which he set in 1985 while running for Boys’ Town Vocational Institute (BTVI).

A Division Boys 800m Results
1st Benjamin Tang Hao Zhe (Hwa Chong Institution, #264) — 02:00.51
2nd Justin John Surin (Raffles Institution, #132) — 02:01.72
3rd Chua Bo Yu (Hwa Chong Institution, #267) — 02:02.50
4th Heng Yu Jie (Raffles Institution, #129) — 02:03.78
5th Jonathan Wong Shern Yang (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), #63) — 02:04.01
6th Ariff Izzudin B Mohamad G (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), #53) — 02:04.69
7th Everest Yeow Qiyue (Raffles Institution, #128) — 02:05.44
8th Abdul Tsaqif Bin Abdul Rahman F (Anglo-Chinese Junior College, #230) — 02:05.63
9th Tan Teck Chye (NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, #306) — 02:07.78
10th Asher Tham Chi Weng (Anglo-Chinese Junior College, #235) — 02:09.35
11th Rovertus Reonaldy Lawantara (Anglo-Chinese Junior College, #254) — 02:09.97
12th Gregory Teo Yi Rong (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), #59) — 02:10.00
13th Cui Chang (Hwa Chong Institution, #268) — 02:10.83
14th Buddha Deepak (Catholic Junior College, #83) — 02:11.38
15th S Kurumbaesun (Victoria Junior College, #225) — 02:12.76
16th Ryan Michael Tan Zhi Xian (Victoria Junior College, #224) — 02:14.24

Video © SAA. Used with permission.

For more photos, go to: Red Sports Images